Non-Compete Clauses Treat Doctors – and Patients – Like Commodities

Dana Corriel, MD continues her commentary (a part II) on why non-compete clauses make sense for only one giant in healthcare, and not the tiny players within.

I’m an entrepreneur at heart so I understand what’s needed for a big system to stay competitive.

In response to a nice gentleman who responded to my original article about non-competes, disagreeing with my stance, I’ve written more. So here goes.

The problem with non-competes today is the huge differential in power.

You have behemoths rising up as giants within a healthcare system, and the players within – who do the healing work – are shrinking by the minute and getting burned out. You’re also seeing that system slowly find replacements for those of us who have traditionally healed, because it has suddenly become about keeping the system running rather than about the quality of the way that’s run.

It’s all a control issue.


We're seeing systems slowly find replacements for those of us who have traditionally healed, because it's suddenly become about keeping the system running rather than the quality of the way it's run. Click To Tweet


Imagine this scenario: the doctor does all of the work treating the patients. The patients build up, over years, and really love getting cared for by this doctor. Doctor wants a raise. Hospital says no. Hospital has the upper hand in any negotiation, because it knows the doctor literally has to move away if they continue to disagree.

Doctor leaves, but now has to move away to start their life – and patient base – from scratch. Doctor has much less negotiating power in this circumstance. And the patients lose out on a great doctor.


“The problem with non-competes today is the huge differential in power.”


If the doctor is the one who’s treating the patients, why does the hospital get to “keep” them? Why are we treating patients like they are commodities? And this is rhetorically posed, as we all know the answer to this. And I’m not even asking about the doc because we can just assume that they are the cogs in the system wheel.

Why can’t a system allow a doctor to open up a practice nearby and the patient simply be trusted to choose where they want tkogo and who they want to see? Again, rhetorical.

By the way, even if the doctor opens up a new practice within a reasonable distance, the system typically doesn’t tell patients where they went. Again it feels like an ownership, making health more business, less continuity.

Which is why I teach docs to personally brand and be present online. If they leave a job, patients don’t have to wonder where they went. They just click into their website.

What needs to happen is a shift in how healthcare runs. Doctors need to be more of free agents and we need the systems to simply be there to provide facilities. Not own us.



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